Wednesday, 3 August 2011
So What's Next? - Summer Stock Taking
This blog doesn't seem to follow any discernible logic anyway - things crop up pretty much by themselves. I am coming into a busy period leading up to my holiday (to ensure that I am in a state of collapse before I go away), so it's going to be fairly quiet here for a few weeks, blogwise.
The Grand Plan for the armies is definitely getting there, and there is a shrinking to-do list for painting - I have a unit of Spanish volunteers which it is taking me ages to get around to finish (S-Range Minifigs with a few conversions), 2 units of Spanish irregular lancers (Falcata), 2 units of Portuguese cavalry (Kennington conversions), an odd battalion of French light infantry (possibly 2 of these, though the second one might be Neapolitan lights), a couple of British siege guns, some singly-based British infantry pioneers, and a bunch (maybe 6 or 8) of Spanish general officers. I've been holding off with the generals, to see what happens with the rumoured re-appearance of Falcata, but time is moving on, and there is no news, so I'll get them sorted out and painted up before long.
And then, of course, there's all the damn artillery limbers that need painting. Adoption of Commands & Colors rules has rather reduced my need for limbers, so it's really the completist illness that pushes me to get them done. I have been collecting them for many years, there's a hefty box full of the things - limbers, horses, drivers for the various nations - so it would be a shame not to do them, but there have always been higher priorities. There's some nice old Hinchliffe 20mm equipment in there, too, so they'd better stay on the Plan. OK - keep them in, but later.
There's odds and ends such as replacing that stupid oversize flag I let myself be talked into for the Regiment de Prusse, a cheeky little Qualiticast French command group which I am thinking of painting up as a mini-diorama piece involving King Joseph's coach, a couple of substandard buglers in the British LI that need replacing (creeping elegance again). At that point, I am scratching the bottom of the barrel, no doubt. Except that - well, except that I recently acquired at hardly any cost a great mass of unpainted French infantry - sufficient for 11 or 12 battalions. Now then. I could just do another vanilla French Line Division - my interest in campaigns is always haunted by Charles S Grant's awful warning that you should have figures in the cupboard for all the troops in your campaign, which might be just the sort of feeble excuse I need to add even more troops to a collection which is already stupidly large. Or - just think - I could do a Neapolitan army (ah, but that would get me started on the 1813-14 campaign in Northern Italy - I already have Italians and French, all I would need then would be a few thousand Austrians.... STOP IT).
What I think I'll do is this: I'll put my new unpainted Frenchers in a nice big box and do nothing with them for quite a long time. At least I won't be making any mistakes that way. Which brings to mind Foy's Eleventh Law, the Theoretical Snobbery Paradox:
If you are not doing something, you can afford to be very picky about just what it is you are not doing, and exactly how you would do it if you were.
In many ways this is an extension of The Principle of Enforced Expertise, but it is an excellent, and very useful, law in its own right. As a very specific example which I've seen a bit of recently, it empowers people who do not fight wargames to dictate how everyone else should be doing it, and allows all of us to be very critical of all sorts of things about which we know (if truth be told) naff all. All those who are sick of people who claim to embrace, or represent, or speak for the true spirit of something-or-other, without any evident qualification, credentials or mandate so to do, please put up your hands. Thank you ever so much.
One thing I have been spending some time on, and which will eventually find its way into a post or two, is the revamping of my campaign rules to co-ordinate and dovetail with my CCN battles. I have taken part in, and run, campaigns in the past, and enjoyed them greatly, but am well aware of the challenges they present. Anyway, the main concepts are firming up, there is a wealth of detail to be sorted out, but I am pleased that I have a blend of things which have worked well for me before with ideas that I have improved on, or have shamelessly nicked from elsewhere. I need a campaign system which is capable of being played solo, which makes sense, which covers things like scouting and supply without removing my will to live, and which generates interesting and stimulating combat. That in itself is a fair old shopping list, but I should also add that the game must also allow for off-table resolution of petty incidents which do not warrant a separate game, and some means of integrating sieges nicely into the rest of the action - anything else would give a sad parody of the Peninsular War, would it not? The excellent NapNuts website's campaign material has provided a lot of useful thought, I've also pinched bits from Omega Games' War to the Death (and Rafa Pardo's excellent work with Gamebox maps for it), and from Ray Trochim's campaign system for Battle Cry. I need to have a look at Frank Chadwick's A House Divided next. I always like to take a notebook and some pens on holiday with me - I think I know what I'll be scribbling about this year!